Saturday, 2 July 2011

Gruffalo, July 01, 2011

Gruffalo ****
  • Kate Herbert
  • From: Herald Sun
  • July 01, 2011 12:25PM

THE GRUFFALO, Arts Centre Playhouse, until July , 2011

THEATRE for children can be the best entertainment in town and when it's based on an enormously popular childrens book such as The Gruffalo, it really rocks.

This enchanting musical stage adaptation of the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler picture book  is magical fun for littlies and their grown-up keepers.

The songs are singable, the characters are lovable and the performers adorable and versatile. The spare staging and direction by Olivia Jacobs allow the imagination to fill in the blanks, just like childrens playtime.

The trio of actors (Crystal Hegedis, Stephen Anderson, Nate Jobe) bring characters to life with whimsical characterisations, simple costumes, crisp and stylised movement and joyful engagement with the audience.

Hegedis is sweet and playful as the fearful Mouse that took a stroll through the deep, dark wood and must talk her way out of being eaten by predators. She scares away the fox, the owl and the snake with tales of The Gruffalo, who eats roasted fox, owl ice cream and scrambled snake.

Anderson is hilarious playing a cocky, Cockney fox, a pompous owl who looks like a World War One RAF pilot, and a seductive, maracca-shaking, Spanish snake. Jobe is a suitably gruff but not too scary Gruffalo and is lithe and in fine voice in other roles.

The children participate at every opportunity because they adore this book, know every word by heart and shout lines out at will.

The Gruffalo is an imaginative, fresh and vivacious musical evolution of a treasured children’s story.

Star rating: ****

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